A large part of designing a home for well-being involves thinking about how we want our spaces to FEEL!  What sort of behaviours do you want to see in each room?  Do you want your living room to be a space where social conversations are held, or is it somewhere to watch TV?  In your home office, do you need somewhere that helps you to think creatively, or a space that nurtures focus and concentration?  And if it’s a space for children, should it calm them, or encourage noisy play? 

What colour, or combination of colours, we chose to use in each room directly affects how we feel, think and behave.   In this two part post, I’m going to look at the main colours in our world, and the different effects that they have on us.

White is the colour of purity, simplicity and peace.  It can clear a cluttered mind and provide emotional safety.  However, too much white and a space will begin to feel cold, sterile and isolating.  White includes ivory, chalk, cream, oyster lead white and pure white.

Image: Build by Design

Yellow is linked to our nervous system and is emotionally stimulating.  Yellow boosts our self-esteem, helping us to feel more confident and optimistic.  Popular yellows include buttermilk, daffodil, lemon, sunflower, saffron and mustard.

Yellow is a great colour to brighten dark spaces, such as hallways which don’t often get much natural light.  And a yellow front door creates a friendly welcome to your home.  However, avoid using yellow in a bedroom, especially a children’s bedroom, where it can result in you waking up feeling irritable and anxious.

Image: Elements at Home

Orange combines the physical properties of red and the emotional effects of yellow, resulting in a colour that feels fun and playful, warm and secure, and sensual and passionate.  Orange includes peach, apricot, salmon, pumpkin, terracotta, amber and burnt orange.

It is also a great colour for stimulating the appetite, so is perfect to use in kitchens and dining rooms.  The softer tones of orange are also good colours to use in a bedroom, but avoid using orange in a study or meditation room as it can be difficult to concentrate when surrounded by this colour.

Image: Best Home Design

Pink is a much softer version of red, and is associated with empathetic love and nurturing care.  Pinks include bubble-gum pink, blush pink, nude, shell, rose and dusty pink, through to strong pinks such as puce, magenta, fuchsia and shocking pink.

Pink is a great colour to use in nurseries (due to its soothing properties), and bedrooms, however the adverse effect of too much pink will result in a space that is physically draining, leaving you feeling emotionally fragile.

Image: Tamara Magel Design

Red is the most visible colour on the spectrum (as it has the longest wavelength), and has a physical effect on us.  Red is a colour that wants to get noticed!  Reds range in colour from watermelon, strawberry, raspberry, and cherry, through to russet, burgundy, maroon, cochineal and scarlet red.

Red is a great colour to use in a bedroom to invoke feelings of passion, and in a dining room it will stimulate conversation, although be careful not to use too much red as this can cause conversations to become heated.

35 Ellen Pompeo
Image: Design by Martyn Lawrence-Bullard

I hope this has given you a few ideas of how to use colour in your spaces to create the desired mood and behaviours.  I will continue working though the colour spectrum in my next blog post in two weeks’ time.  Until then, have a colourful couple of weeks!

“The whole idea of certain colours conflicting violently with others was nonsense dreamed up by a lot of genteel women in the 1930s. Colours do not clash — they vibrate… So do not be afraid to use colour freely. Have courage. As with drawing, painting, acting or any creative activity, you must attack with strength.”
David Hicks